YORK — The driver of a Kittery recreation department shuttle bus that crashed in New Hampshire last week with 11 children on board has a history of epilepsy and had experienced grand mal seizures in the past, court records show.

The diagnosis could explain the unspecified medical emergency that New Hampshire State Police say John E. Guy, 21, of Kittery, suffered immediately before he ran off the road while driving the 2010 GMC Savana.

But still unexplained is why the town of Kittery’s background check of Guy did not turn up information about his checkered driving record – including driving to endanger convictions – and his minor criminal history, and it remains unclear why he was hired by the town and allowed to drive the van.

Guy was hired as a counselor at a town-run summer camp known as the SAFE Summer program, and was driving a van filled with 11 children and one other adult to a New Hampshire water park when he crashed Friday morning in the town of Greenland.

Some of the children were injured, and were treated and released at nearby hospitals. One child with serious injuries was flown to Boston Children’s Hospital, but everyone involved in the wreck had been released from the hospital as of Sunday, Kittery officials said. The passengers have not been publicly identified.

The town said Monday that criminal history and driving record checks are standard in the hiring process, and Town Manager Kendra Amaral said in a statement released Tuesday that the town employs an online service to complete the checks. The unnamed third-party company cross-references a national criminal database, a terrorist watch list, the sex offender registry, and a county criminal court search – but did not include a driver history.

Had they employed Maine’s publicly accessible driving record search service, for a fee of $12 the town’s human resources staff could have been instantly provided with a 10-year report on any infractions recorded against Guy’s license to drive, including his two administrative convictions for driving to endanger.

Amaral did not respond Wednesday to specific questions about the online background check service or why the town did not use Maine’s own criminal history or driver records check databases.

“We have reviewed the hiring records of SAFE Summer program staff and can confirm that background checks were run on all employees, including Mr. Guy,” Amaral said. “We are still investigating why the background check performed did not result in an accurate assessment of Mr. Guy’s history.”

TWO DRIVING CONVICTIONS

Guy has twice been convicted of driving to endanger – apparently through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles administrative process – first in August 2013, when he was 16 years old and less than a month after his license was issued. The second conviction came in August 2016. His record also includes two speeding tickets – one for driving 45 mph in a 35-mph zone and another for driving 62 mph in a 40-mph zone – and three convictions for driving with a suspended license, along with two instances of failing to show a valid inspection sticker.

Both the driving record and the criminal record came up in routine checks conducted by the Portland Press Herald after the crash.

It’s also not clear what the town knew about Guy’s epilepsy.

Guy disclosed the medical condition in a December letter to a judge asking for the court to reschedule a court appearance that he had missed, resulting in an arrest warrant being issued for failure to appear, court records show. Guy was due in court after being charged with driving to endanger and operating after suspension in connection with an Aug. 17, 2016, incident in Eliot.

“When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy, I noticed that my grand-mal seizures had begun to affect my memory,” Guy wrote in the Dec. 6 letter, explaining that he had written the court date incorrectly in his daily planner. “I have no reason to miss court intentionally, I was eager to finally have some answers to my charges and hopefully begin the process of correcting the mistakes I have made. Especially now that I have enrolled in Southern Maine Community College for next semester, I definitely did not want to procrastinate on getting my case settled.”

The judge granted the request, rescinded the arrest warrant and reset the case for hearings. Guy ultimately agreed to a one-year deferred disposition on the charges, but the deal was rescinded after Guy failed to comply with the conditions. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was ordered to pay over $1,300 in fines.

Guy wrote another letter to the court this month. On Aug. 3, he asked for more time to pay the fines, in part because he did not earn enough money in his position with the town of Kittery and he had little other time to work and earn money, and in part because he was spending more time attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a day at the recommendation of his sponsor.

ATTENDING AA MEETINGS

In a Facebook post that Guy made in late July that is no longer public, he announced to family and friends that he was an alcoholic and had begun attending meetings.

“There’s not really an easy way to say this, but Sunday I woke up with a different perspective on life,” he wrote. “I’m done with the routine of failure. I’m done with the missed opportunities. I decided it’s time for me to get off the hamster wheel and start moving forward. Luckily, I knew just the place to go. My name is John Evan Guy and I’m an alcoholic.”

While New Hampshire police have not publicly specified what medical emergency preceded the crash, Maine officials were provided with enough information to immediately move to suspend Guy’s driving license. The suspension will take effect within days after Guy is notified officially of the decision.

“It is rare to do an immediate suspension,” said Kristen Muszynski, spokeswoman for the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees the BMV. “Normally when we hear about it, when we get this sort of adverse report, we give the person a 60-day window to get back to us with a follow-up.”

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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